Programme Specialist (Ocean Decade)


Post Number : IOC/PA 035

Grade : P-4

Parent Sector : Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: Programme Coordination

Type of contract : Project Appointment

Duration of contract : 2 years

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 08-AUG-2024


Initial duration of contract is 1 year with possibility of renewal subject to funding and satisfactory performance.


UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism



Under the overall authority of the Executive Secretary of IOC, the direct supervision of the Head of Section for Marine Policy and Regional Coordination (IOC/MPR), the incumbent is responsible for the development and coordination of the Ocean Decade Programme on Sustainable Ocean Planning (SOP) and supports the development and implementation of the IOC wide-strategy on Sustainable Ocean Planning and Management, and in particular providing recommendations and expertise on structural programme development, as well as identifying potential collaborations and ensuring regular communication and exchange amongst teams, colleagues, peers and stakeholders.


The incumbent’s main responsibilities are:


  • Identify and map existing needs of Member States and other relevant stakeholders for science-based sustainable ocean plans that are resilient to climate change and biodiversity-responsive through survey, information collection to inform programme development and roll-out of activities; and set up co-design mechanisms to receive feedback from SOP end-users on the relevance and utility of the Decade programme.
  • Advise and guide on the further development of structural elements such as outputs and activities to be delivered by the Decade Programme and the IOC-wide Strategy on Sustainable Ocean Planning and Management,  including support to be delivered with a focus on the application of ocean science to SOP approaches, the integration and use of data-driven approach to inform SOP processes, the development of inclusive participatory process /conflict resolution tools; and the fostering on cross-sectoral and transboundary approach to SOP; and provide strategic advice and oversight for programme development and initial roll-out.
  • Work through the Decade Programme Advisory Group and other relevant mechanisms, strengthen coalition of international partners to support the implententation of the Ocean Decade programme through technical and financial support for actions and coordination aspects; Identify resource mobilisation opportunities and mobilise extra-budgetary resources through outreach, engagement, and dialogue.
  • Work with the Decade Coordination Unit in mainstreaming the SOP concept within the Decade ecosystem (Programmes, projects, coordination, and engagement mechanisms) and advise on the development of specific Call for Decade Actions based on needs assessment and gaps identification.
  • Identify through structured dialogue with relevant IOC programmes, technical contribution to the design and implementation of the Decade SOP Programme, including opportunities for creating partnerships with public and private stakeholders in science-based delivery and services in support of the sustainable ocean economy. 
  • Work with Decade regional, thematic coordination structures and IOC Sub-Commissions in the development of regional strategies to further develop tailored technical assistance and capacity development interventions to national and regional practionners, including though the leveraging of National Decade Committees.
  • Support the work of the IOC Working Group on IOC Working Group on Sustainable Ocean Planning and Management (WG-SOPM).

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Building partnerships (M)
Teamwork (C)
Communication (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Results focus (C)
Driving and managing change (M)
Leading and empowering others (M)
Managing performance (M)
Strategic thinking (M)
Accountability (C)
Professionalism (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Making quality decisions (M)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.




  • Advanced university degree (master’s or equivalent) in marine science, oceanography, environmental sciences or related field.
  • Additional certifications or specialized training related to marine spatial planning, resource management would be an asset. 


Work experience 

  • A minimum of 7 years of progressively relevant professional experience in the field of environmental and/or ocean research, management and capacity development, of which preferably 4 years acquired at international level.
  • Experience in coordinating, managing, and implementing international projects or programmes.
  • Good understanding of ocean affairs, ocean science and capacity development.
  • Excellent analytical skills, including the ability to identify complex issues, and decide on ways forward respecting the constraints of the organizations involved.
  • Demonstrated strategic thinking and change management skills.
  • Strong programme development and management skills.
  • Proven resource mobilization skills and experience.
  • Very good communication skills (oral and written) with proven ability to make effective and persuasive oral presentations to both technical and general audiences.
  • Proven ability to advocate and negotiate with colleagues, staff, and stakeholders at all levels, internal and external, including building and maintaining partnerships.



  • Excellent knowledge and drafting skills in English and working knowledge of French or Spanish.


UNESCO’s salaries consist of a basic salary and other benefits which may include if applicable: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, medical insurance, pension plan etc.

The approximate annual starting salary for this post is 125 036 US $.

For full information on benefits and entitlements, please consult our Guide to Staff Benefits.


Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.


UNESCO recalls that paramount consideration in the appointment of staff members shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, technical competence and integrity. UNESCO applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment. UNESCO is committed to achieving and sustaining equitable and diverse geographical distribution, as well as gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Candidates from non- and under-represented Member States (last update here) are particularly welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals from minority groups and indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.

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